The Best Underseat Luggage to Make the Most of Your Foot Space
From spinner suitcases to duffles, totes and backpacks, these underseat luggage options will upgrade your next in-flight experience.
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What size bag can fit under an airplane seat?
Having a few great carry-ons for all your travel needs, including a piece of underseat luggage, can simplify travel. An underseat bag is exactly what it sounds like: A bag sized to fit directly underneath the seat in front of you.
Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at truetrae.com, looks for “something that is truly low profile enough to slide under a seat,” and notes that “most backpacks, for example, need to be jammed under.”
Here are the guidelines for underseat luggage on major airlines. Just keep in mind that size requirements may vary by the type of aircraft.
- Alaska Airlines: Alaska recently changed their carry-on size to 22 by 14 by 9 inches, including the wheels and handles. They also define a personal item as “a purse, briefcase or laptop bag.”
- American Airlines: Bags stored underneath the seat in front of you should not exceed 18 by 14 by 8 inches.
- Delta: Delta defines a personal item as “a purse, laptop bag or item of similar size that will fit underneath the seat in front of you,” but does not offer a specific size. However, their maximum carry-on size is 22 by 14 by 9 inches, with no bag exceeding 45 linear inches combined. Did you know that Delta is one of the most pet-friendly airlines?
- Hawaiian Airlines: Carry-on bags should not exceed 9 by 14 by 22 inches or 45 linear inches, or weigh over 25 pounds. “Your allotted personal item must be small enough to fit safely under the seat in front of you. Personal items are generally such things as a purse, briefcase, laptop computer, small backpack or similar piece. In each case, it must fit safely under the seat in front of you,” they explain.
- JetBlue: Jetblue offers specific measurement limitations for underseat baggage: It can’t be bigger than 17 by 13 by 8 inches.
- United Airlines: United limits underseat luggage to 9 by 10 by 17 inches.
- Southwest Airlines: Personal items must fit in the 16.25 by 13.5 by 8 inch space underneath the seat in front of you.
- Spirit Airlines: Spirit allows personal items up to 18 by 14 by 8 inches, including handles and wheels.
Is underseat luggage a personal item?
Typically, an underseat bag is considered to be your personal item, says Bodge. However, it depends on the size of the bag and the restrictions of the specific airline you are flying.
Can you have a carry-on and an underseat bag?
Whether you can have a carry-on bag plus an underseat bag depends on the size of your underseat luggage and also specific airline policies.
The best underseat bags
- Best underseat luggage overall: Travelpro Maxlite 5 Compact Underseat Luggage
- Best splurge underseat luggage: Hartmann Tweed Legend Underseat Suitcase
- Most durable underseat luggage: Briggs & Riley Baseline Underseat Duffle Bag
- Best fold-up underseat luggage: Paravel Fold-Up Bag
- Best underseat luggage for business travelers: Samsonite Underseat Spinner
- Best smart underseat luggage: Travelers Club Luggage TPRC Smart Underseat Luggage
- Best hardside underseat luggage: Calpak Hue Mini Carry-on
- Best multi-use underseat luggage: Away The Everywhere Bag
- Best underseat luggage for kids: American Tourister Disney Hardside Luggage, 18-inch
- Best underseat backpack: Monos Metro Backpack
Best overall underseat luggage
Travelpro Maxlite 5 Compact Underseat Luggage
Frequent fliers consistently choose Travelpro as a dependable luggage brand. This soft-sided underseat suitcase meets all the criteria for a convenient and budget-friendly bag. For starters, it sits on inline skate wheels with a telescopic handle, making it easy to maneuver around the airport. It has convenient interior and exterior storage options, including a padded laptop sleeve and a removable wet pocket.
Even flight attendants swear by it. “Great little bag,” writes five-star Amazon reviewer Fly Gal. “Has many pockets and compartments. Can get quite a bit in it. Very compact and well organized bag. Lightweight and fits perfectly under the seat in front of you on just about any airplane.” Did you know that most pilots only travel with soft-sided luggage like this one?
- High quality for the price, like most Travelpro offerings
- Lots of organizational pockets
- Stain-resistant and water-repellant coating
- Available in multiple colors
- Some people note that it may not fit underneath the seat in budget economy parts of the plane
- Accessing the inside pockets can be difficult
Best splurge underseat luggage
Hartmann Tweed Legend Underseat Suitcase
This Hartmann suitcase is sized to fit underneath the seat in front of you at 18 by 8 by 14 inches, but boasts enough organizational features to work as your primary piece of luggage for short trips. The sophisticated tweed exterior features weather and stain resistance, and the nylon fabric with leather trim is constructed to last. The interior boasts a removable padded suiter to help transport hanging garments wrinkle-free, and adjustable tie tapes to keep belongings secure.
There are plenty of pockets, including zippered panels for tech and personal items and a padded section for a laptop. A zippered side pocket has a USB port with space for gadgets and a battery for on-the-go charging. Steel cartridge spinner wheels and a 12-position contoured pull handle make it a cinch to navigate even the busiest airport in the world.
- Superior organizational features, including a suiter, make it a great all-in-one suitcase
- High quality; designed to be a lifelong travel companion
- Classic and elegant styling
- Top-notch quality and features means a high price tag
- Not expandable, and no TSA lock
Most durable underseat luggage
Briggs & Riley Baseline Underseat Duffle Bag
Constructed out of durable ballistic-nylon, this underseat bag can withstand wear and tear, moisture, dirt and abrasions. A pass-through back strap allows you to easily slip it over the handle of a larger carry-on. Exterior pockets are perfect for personal items, including a tablet or laptop and travel documents. As for interior features, it includes a roomy main compartment and zip mesh pocket for organization, plus two additional pockets. Bringing grub on your flight? Here are the foods you can and can’t take on a plane.
- Durable ballistic-nylon material
- Convenient to use with a carry-on suitcase
- Lots of pockets for convenience and easy access
- Neutral style
- No spinner wheels
- On the expensive side due to the high quality materials
Best fold-up underseat luggage
Paravel Fold-Up Bag
Not sure if you’ll need an extra bag on your trip? This uniquely functional Paravel bag folds flat and zips into a hand-held pouch so you can throw it in your carry-on to stash all the stuff you bought on vacation. Choose from multiple colors and have it monogrammed with your initials for an extra $15. The duffle is sized to meet TSA personal item requirements at 18 by 11.5 by 11 inches, and is roomy enough to fit up to five days worth of clothes (and two pairs of shoes!). Since it’s flexible, you won’t have to worry about it fitting underneath the seats of most airlines. And by the way, make sure you know the worst spot on the plane for your carry-on bag.
- Folds flat into a book-sized pouch
- Eco-friendly fabric made from recycled plastic bottles
- Double layered for durability
- Reasonably priced
- Not great for organizing items (only one interior zip pocket)
- No wheels
Best underseat luggage for business travelers
Samsonite Underseat Spinner
Need a charge while traveling for work? This Samsonite suitcase fits underneath the seat in front of you on most flights and includes a handy USB port. Four multidirectional spinner wheels for mobility and a great telescopic handle make wheeling it around a breeze. Quick-stash exterior pockets offer easy access and room for all your essentials. The main compartment also features a padded laptop sleeve with an elastic band to secure it.
This underseat bag has earned more than 3,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, including from Vincent Ho, who raves: “Much bigger than it looks and spacious. It stacks on my carry-on, making traveling with more that much easier. Fits perfectly underneath the airline and train seats, even when packed to the brim. Glad someone figured this out!” For long flights, check out the best travel pillows to buy, including our trtl pillow review (spoiler alert: it’s amazing).
- USB charging port
- Ample space to store gadgets, including a padded laptop sleeve
- Four multidirectional spinner wheels
- Great price for the features
- Only accommodates laptops up to 13.3 inches
- USB charger battery sold separately
Best smart underseat luggage
Travelers Club Luggage TPRC Smart Under Seat Carry-On
This under-$60 smart suitcase from TPRC is a favorite with Amazon reviewers, boasting a built-in USB charging port for keeping gadgets powered on the go. It also has a telescopic handle and smooth inline skate wheels, multiple exterior pockets for easy access to accessories and ample interior storage space. There are more than 5,000 five-star reviews, including one from Peggie Hall, who writes: “Finally, an underseat bag with wheels that actually fits under the seat, even most aisle seats!” She also notes that it is easy to maneuver down narrow airplane aisles.
Another happy customer, Karey, calls it the “perfect underseat cabin bag,” and says: “Sturdy zippers and lots of pockets. Having the extra battery charger (with its own pocket, BONUS) and exterior port is super helpful.” Beware before you fly, though, not all carry-ons are free.
- Exterior USB port easily charges devices
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- Lots of pockets
- Budget friendly; excellent value
- Some people complain that there are too many small pockets and not enough larger ones
- Power bank and USB cord sold separately
Best hardside underseat luggage
Calpak Hue Mini Carry-On
The Calpak Hue is designed like a traditional carry-on, just in a miniature size (16 by 14 by 8 inches) to fit under most seats. Its polycarbonate hard-shell exterior is durable without adding weight (it’s less than 7 pounds). Four spinner wheels and an extending handle make traveling with this suitcase a delight. It offers effortless organization with a roomy interior that has zipper compartments, pockets and compression straps to allow for maximum storage. More to love: A TSA-accepted lock ensures there won’t be any luggage problems at TSA security.
- Lightweight and durable hardside exterior
- Similar features of full-size carry-on suitcases
- Six color options
- No USB port
Best multi-use underseat luggage
Away The Everywhere Bag
If you want to invest in a piece of underseat luggage that you can also use for your every day, consider Away’s The Everywhere Bag. Choose between a water-resistant nylon or a pebbled leather version. The bag boasts six interior pockets, including a 15-inch padded laptop sleeve, slots for pens and notepads, a zippered waterproof umbrella pocket and plenty of space for clothes and shoes.
It also has multiple handles, including a detachable cross-body strap and trolley pass—features that Bodge recommends. “It’s nice to have different carrying options when you are not resting it on top of your suitcase. That way, if you choose to use it at your destination, for walking around, hiking, as a picnic bag, etc., there are different ways to carry it.”
Unsure about buying the bag? Put it to the test on your next trip and if you aren’t 100% satisfied, you can return it anytime within the first 100 days of the purchase. And FYI: When you plan for your next getaway, check out what you shouldn’t wear on an airplane, according to flight attendants.
- Versatile design that works for daily use, too
- Removable, adjustable shoulder strap
- Trolley sleeve secures bag to suitcase
- Leather option
- No wheels
- Pricier than other options
Best underseat luggage for kids
American Tourister Disney Hardside Luggage, 18-inch
This pint-sized suitcase from American Tourister is perfect for your next family vacation, whether it’s to an amusement park or a kid-friendly all-inclusive resort. Available in a bunch of Disney character illustrations, the hardshell suitcase has a roomy (and boldly-printed) interior space with cross straps to secure belongings. A colorful adjustable handle and spinner wheels allow kids to wheel their own luggage around. One five-star reviewer, Mimi, writes: “This is my third purchase of an American Tourister Kids 18′ Upright! My three granddaughters in Vermont use it religiously for sleepovers, trips to Boston, camping and for anything they choose!” Another verified purchaser, Minnie, writes: “Perfect for a child to travel with. Light but durable.” And most importantly, “very cute.”
- Fun Disney prints for kids
- Perfect size and features for tiny hands
- Lightweight, polycarbonate material
- Might be too small for long trips
- Some reviewers wish there were four wheels instead of two
Best underseat backpack
Monos Metro Backpack
A backpack is always a reliable option for underseat luggage. This sleek version from Monos is constructed out of water-repellant nylon twill with vegan leather accents. It’s stylish enough for everyday wear, but packed with travel-friendly features you’ll appreciate on your next trip. There are multiple pockets for organization, including a 15-inch laptop sleeve and a waterproof compartment perfect for gym clothes or shoes. A small, hidden back pocket is ideal for quick-access to your phone, passport or wallet. It also has a top carry handle, adjustable shoulder straps and a trolley sleeve to effortlessly slip on a suitcase while traveling. A detachable and interchangeable “Metro Kit” pouch on the front gives you more storage space, and is the optimal place for stashing food in case of delayed or cancelled flights.
- A stylish backpack designed with travelers in mind
- Fits laptops up to 15 inches
- Nylon and vegan leather exterior
- High quality materials make it expensive for a backpack
- Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at truetrae.com
- Alaska Airlines, Carry-On Luggage
- American Airlines, Carry-On Bags
- Delta, Carry-On Baggage
- Hawaiian Airlines, Carry-On Baggage
- JetBlue, Carry-On Bags
- United Airlines, Carry-On Baggage
- Southwest Airlines, Carry-on Baggage
- Spirit Airlines, Customer Support
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